December 2008 
 Mind Your Health
 Information for Healthy Living
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Are you feeling stressed this holiday season? Is money is extremely tight? Is there not enough time in the day? Do you wish you could experience more holiday cheer? If so, the following article by the Pennsylvania Psychological Association offers tips on coping with

 Making the Most of the Holiday Season
 Tips on Preventing Holiday Stress

Given our country's economic woes, the holidays have the potential to create additional challenges this year. Few people seem to have extra resources to spend on gifts, parties and extravagances. Families are cutting back, employees are worrying about job security, and seniors are concerned about their retirement.

In an online poll conducted this summer, the American Psychological Association (APA) found that nearly half of Americans report that their stress level has increased over the past year, and as many as 30 percent rate their average stress level as extreme.

"It is normal to feel overwhelmed during the holiday season. The pressures to have the perfect holiday can be extraordinary," says Dr. David Palmiter Jr., Public Education Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Psychological Association. "It is important to put things in perspective and realize that the materialism of the holidays isn't the real spirit of the season. The holidays are about family and togetherness, not tinsel and presents."

Stress from the ailing economy and the increasing costs of gas, housing and healthcare can leave you especially vulnerable to increased anxiety during the holidays. However, it is important to view the current economic situation as an opportunity to enhance your psychological well-being. Remember, there are conscious steps you can take to prevent holiday stress and ensure a worry-free season.

The Pennsylvania Psychological Association offers the following tips:

Take time for yourself.
There may be pressure to be everything to everyone. Remember that you're only one person and can only accomplish certain things. Sometimes self-care is the best thing you can do -- others will benefit when you're stress-free. Go for a long walk, get a massage or take time out to listen to your favorite music or read a new book. All of us need some time to recharge our batteries -- by slowing down you will actually have more energy to accomplish your goals.

Many charitable organizations are also suffering due to the economic downturn. Find a local charity, such as a soup kitchen or a shelter where you and your family can volunteer. Also, participating in a giving tree or an adopt-a- family program, and helping those who are living in true poverty may help you put your own economic struggles in perspective.

Have realistic expectations.
No Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, or other holiday celebration is perfect; view inevitable missteps as opportunities to demonstrate flexibility and resilience. A lopsided tree or a burned brisket won't ruin your holiday; rather, it will create a family memory. If your children's wish list is outside your budget, talk to them about the family's finances this year and remind them that the holidays aren't about expensive gifts.

Remember what's important.
The barrage of holiday advertising can make you forget what the holiday season is really about. When your holiday expense list is running longer than your monthly budget, scale back and remind yourself that what makes a great celebration is family and friends, not store-bought presents, elaborate decorations or gourmet food.

Seek support.
Talk about your anxiety with your friends and family. Getting things out in the open can help you navigate your feelings and work toward a solution for your stress. If you continue to feel overwhelmed, consider seeing a professional such as a psychologist to help you manage your holiday stress.

This article was reprinted with permission from the Pennsylvania Psychological Association.

To learn more about stress and mind/body health, visit the Pennsylvania Psychological Association's Web site, www.papsy.org, or the American Psychological Association's Consumer Help Center at www.APAhelpcenter.org.


 Psychological Evaluations
 The Value of a Good Assessment

Dr. George Villarose I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome Dr. George Villarose to the practice. Dr. Villarose is a licensed psychologist and a school certified psychologist. He will be providing a full range of assessment services including:
  • Psycho-educational Evaluations
  • Learning Disability & Gifted Evaluations
  • Vocational Evaluations
  • Assessment of ADHD
  • Psychological Evaluations

Psychological testing includes a comprehensive evaluation and assessment process in addition to completing various standardized assessment instruments. This is an extremely important process in addressing academic underachievement, behavioral problems, learning difficulties and emotional problems that undermine performance in school, work and relationships. Psychological evaluations are also useful in addressing road blocks in therapy by understanding the deeper personality structure of the person receiving treatment. Often people are able to make more progress in therapy once they and their therapist have a deeper appreciation for the nature of their problems or difficulties.

For more information or to schedule and evaluation contact Dr. Villarose at 610.873.4748 extension #5.


 $100 Off Psychological Testing until Feb. 2009

Schedule an comprehensive psychological evaluation and receive $100 off the total cost of the evaluation. This offer is good until the end of February 2009. Print out this article and bring it to your appointment to receive the discount! Valid only for psychological testing evaluations.

For more information visit the resources section of our website. Wishing you all the best this holiday season!


Dr. Given
Dennis Given, Psy.D. - Psychologist & Director
Psychology Associates of Chester County

phone: (610) 873-4748
fax: (610) 873-4715
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